The environmental benefits of recycling
The recycling industry is making a substantial contribution to the improvement of our environment by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, delivering significant energy and water savings, as well as conserving non-renewable virgin resources.
Some of the greatest environmental benefits of recycling are in the conservation of energy and natural resources and the prevention of pollution when recycled material, rather than raw material, is used to make a new product. Manufacturing materials the second time around is much cleaner and less energy intensive than when using raw materials.
Life cycle analysis (LCA)* modelling has shown that by substituting secondary-use materials for virgin materials the environmental benefits from reprocessing all material recovered in 2009-10 would be equivalent to:
- saving almost 90 million gigajoules of energy
- preventing more than 4.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere (equivalent to taking 758,000 cars off the road)
- saving 53,000 megalitres of water.
* RMIT University, Centre for Design, Life Cycle Impact Data for Resource Recovery from C&I and C&D Waste in Victoria, September 2005
Top | Last updated 20/07/2012